16 August 2007

Take that, antibacterial soap!

Via Slashdot and Physorg.com,
In the first known comprehensive analysis of whether antibacterial soaps work better than plain soaps . . . antibacterial soap was no more effective in preventing infectious illness than plain soap. Moreover, antibacterial soaps at formulations sold to the public do not remove any more bacteria from the hands during washing than plain soaps.
Oh, snap!
"What we are saying is that these e-coli could survive in the concentrations that we use in our (consumer formulated) antibacterial soaps. . . . What it means for consumers is that we need to be aware of what's in the products. The soaps containing triclosan used in the community setting are no more effective than plain soap at preventing infectious illness symptoms, as well as reducing bacteria on the hands."
Mmm, hmm. Go on.
The team looked at 27 studies conducted between 1980 and 2006, and found that soaps containing triclosan within the range of concentrations commonly used in the community setting (0.1 to 0.45 percent wt/vol) were no more effective than plain soaps. Triclosan is used in higher concentrations in hospitals and other clinical settings, and may be more effective at reducing illness and bacteria.
Dig it.
Triclosan works by targeting a biochemical pathway in the bacteria that allows the bacteria to keep its cell wall intact. Because of the way triclosan kills the bacteria, mutations can happen at the targeted site. Aiello says a mutation could mean that the triclosan can no longer get to the target site to kill the bacteria because the bacteria and the pathway have changed form.
So, commonly used, publicly available antibacterial soaps aren't any more affective than regular soaps AND they can actually encourage mutations which can render infectious disease-causing pathogens immune. Tighten up, antibacterial soap manufacturers! Give me scented foamy soap fun without the bells and whistles of empty bacteria-eliminating promises.

And Physorg.com? Get our your wrench 'cause it's time to tighten it up! Your "targeted advertising" is hawking antibacterial products at me right as they are being debunked by the surrounding article. Reevaluate!

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